Though the annoucement by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and EMI Group Plc. (OTC: EMIPY) last week that ended the British record label's use of DRM technology for everything but the Beatles, more news is emerging that affects fans eager to download the band's songs.
NME is reporting today that Neil Aspinall, a friend of The Beatles and the manager of their Apple Corps. record label since 1970, has stepped down.
Aspinall was responsible for The Beatles catalog and any release it would have had with digital services. It had always been assumed that he was responsible for keeping the catalog from the digital market, though his position obviously had changed in the last couple of years. According to the report, new manager Jeff Jones' first task at Apple Corps. will be to get the catalog ready for digital availability.
Clearly, more waiting is in store for Beatles fans. This got me wondering though about why Aspinall, who was in one of the highest positions of any record company (who wouldn't want to oversee the release and promotion of The Beatles material, seriously), would choose to leave the company at such a pivotal moment. The NME article was vague on that point.
Perhaps Aspinall's reluctance to take the catalog digital was a factor and despite what appeared to have changed in the last few years was in fact bowing to pressure from EMI and the market. It's just a guess, but it seems plausible. At the same time, it could just be that he is tired of the responsibility. That too is certainly understandable.
Nevertheless, and despite my wondering, waiting is going to be a continual game for Beatles fans and music consumers. We may never know why such a pivotal figure in Beatles history left their company, but that is just another peg in the waiting process.